Portfolio Advice

Thinking about applying to study with us? This guide should help...

Portfolio Guide

There is no ‘ultimate’ portfolio sadly as we look for many different qualities in a candidate but here’s some advice to help you build your portfolio and some suggestions of the kind of things that we are looking for.

Before your interview we will ask you to send us five images that best showcase your talents to help us judge whether you fit the bill. Here’s your chance to show us exactly what you can do, so we suggest you get some advice from your teachers or college tutors on what ones to choose. You might not be on an art course so gather together creative work that you have done in your own time - this might be some CG models you have made, photographs, sketches, paintings or storyboards for instance.

If you’re successful with this we’ll then invite you to interview and here’s when you’ll need to bring your portfolio and some supporting sketchbooks. But what should you put in your portfolio, and what should you leave out?

Firstly, we suggest that your portfolio showcases your 20 best pieces of work. No more. No less. We want to see how well you know your work and how well you can edit it down from the volumes that you’ve produced. We would like to see examples of:

  • Life Drawing – this is observational drawing and not just from formal life drawing classes.
  • Colour work – to show how you can use, mix, control and communicate with colour.
  • Examples of creative computer work – this could be some models you’ve made or even some animation or simply digital paintings.
  • Storyboards or sequential images – how are you putting these together to tell a story?
  • Creative photography – how are you framing things, considering composition, using time?
  • Self directed work – you’ll be told to produce work as part of your studies. But what creative things do you do in your own time?
  • Models or three dimensional work – include photos of these rather than the actual things – they might break in transit!
  • Work in a variety of mediums – show us how you can be creative using different materials or mediums
  • Any animation or visual effect work in a showreel you might have done – but these are NOT essential – but keep it to one minute max!

What we don’t want to see:

  • Drawings from photographs – lets see how you really see the world
  • Sketchbooks with work torn out or sketchbooks where you stick your ‘best’ sketches in – sketchbooks are the insight to how you think creatively. These show us how you came up with an idea, followed it through and arrived at the finished piece. Successful or not, it doesn’t matter, sketchbooks should be messy, have mistakes and wonky work. That’s what makes them great things to look at.
  • Copies of other people's work – be you, be original
  • Long and irrelevant showreels – you might have worked on a group film at college so we want to see your work in this. Edit it down.

            The most important thing is to be you, be yourself.


            Get some advice from your tutors (but resist asking mum or dad which your best work is – they’ll love it all!) and if you want to make doubly sure just drop us a mail at portfolio advice and include a few examples of your work and we’ll give you some feedback.

           At interview:

            The interview process at Falmouth usually takes about twenty minutes and involves us looking at your portfolio, sketchbooks and any moving image work (please bring this on a USB or have a link ready to your work on You Tube or Vimeo etc).

            We will want to chat to you about your work as well as your interest in either animation or visual effects. We want to get to know a bit more about you. Interviews can be a scary prospect for even the most confident people so we accept that you might be nervous. So to help you prepare here are some of the sort of questions we are likely to ask you:

  •             What has attracted you to studying with us at Falmouth?
  •             What is it about either animation or visual effects that most excites you?
  •             What does animation or what does visual effects mean to you?
  •             What was the last film that you watched and what stood out about it?
  •             Which artists or studios do you most admire, and why?
  •             What do you do creatively when you're not studying?                                                                   

And     We will expect you to have some questions for us, so spend some time thinking of something to ask. It's more than likely that your mind will go blank at that point so be prepared and have them written down somewhere on some paper or a card. It's ok to do this. It shows that you planned ahead! 

          Good luck!  


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